VCP Part 1: Strategies, Tactics, and Tools

Becoming VCP: Part 1- Strategy, Tactics, and Tools

In my last post, I laid out the basics of what this VCP certification guide guide is about and where it is going. Today, I’m going give you the down-and-dirty details, including overall approach, actual techniques, and what you’ll need to get going. But first- lemme take a selfie let me show you the difference between strategy and tactics.

Strategy and tactics are 2 different things, but if you want to be successful, whether in battle or in goal setting, they need to align.

Strategy is your overarching plan. It the the high-level, 30,000 ft. view of your mission. It doesn’t deal with details. It’s just a broad direction for you to go in.

Tactics, on the other hand, are what you employ when you are on the ground doing the work. Tactics are your techniques, steps, and all the little details that get the job done.


My strategy here is actually straightforward- I am going to learn the heck out of vSphere 5.5 and 6. I will do this the old school way, just by learning the material and using it at home and at work.

I will be virtually attending’s VMware IT Academy class for VCP5.5.

WHY? I thought you wanted VCP6…

Great question. It’s about money and the way I like to learn. VMware will let you take the VCP exam(s) without the class, but in case you didn’t know, you won’t get VCP certified until you take one of their approves classes.

These classes come in 3 major forms:

  1. Direct from VMware (Instructor-Led (online or in-person)) or self-paced online $3,000+
  2. From a 3rd-party training provider (like NewHorizons, etc) ~$4,000+
  3. VMware’s IT Academy, offered by colleges $200 + book ~$40

For me there are 2 upshots here: I get to take the class at my own pace and it’s wildly less expensive. You can have your company pay for the week-long VMware class, but for me, I get 45 days to do exercises and an inexpensive class with some guidance. Works for me.

I will use books, videos, classroom training, and even teaching it to others to learn it.

Wait – what? Teach it?

That’s right. You are a better student of something if you are going to have to teach it. This served me very well when I took my previous certification exams. I was in a tech school for about 6 hours per day, and I actually would learn for 3 hours, then after lunch do to an empty class across the hall and me and some friends would take turns teaching the concepts to teach other.

I don’t think there’s a better way. If you can explain the concept to someone else, you are close to mastering it. I don’t have a class this time, but I’m considering starting a Google Hangout and teaching it there to others. Maybe I’ll even do it on Periscope. Not sure yet. If not, I can still teach the concepts to my fellow engineers at work.

I will take the classes and do the labs on Tuesday nights, and also Wednesday if needed. I let my wife and coworkers know what I’m going, so they will keep me accountable. I set dates for most of it.


Tactically, I am going to employ a number of tools and take a series of detailed steps. By the way, I also have the A+, Network+, and Microsoft Office Master certifications. And yes, I got them using these very same techniques. Here are my steps:

  1. Register and pay for course (more info here) (done)
  2. Get exam objectives (done)
  3. Take VMware practice exam to get a baseline (done, I suck- 48.33% on first run)
  4. Watch VCP 5.5 videos on CBT Nuggets (ongoing)
  5. Start course on 10/27/2015 – Objectives:
    1. Compare exam objectives to course content and look for gaps
    2. Make note of the areas I’m weak on and practice them
    3. Discuss and teach weak areas with colleagues at work
  6. Finish course on or before 12/15/2015
  7. Request authorization for VCP 5.5 Exam + pay $225 (USD) – Schedule for 12/22/2015.
  8. Take practice exams several times (probably MeasureUp)
  9. Sit for and pass VCP5-DCV (VCP550)
  10. Attend vSphere: Design & Deploy Fast Track [V6] training
  11. Watch CBT Nuggets VCP6-DCV training
  12. Request authorization for VCP6 Delta Exam + pay $225 (USD)
  13. Take practice exams several times
  14. Sit for and pass 2V0-621D exam(VCP6DCV)
  15. Buy a new G-Shock Mudman watch(Optional for you – I like to do this when I get a new certification)


You can’t get something as ambitious as this done without tools. Tools multiply your force and productivity, and they are essential to you getting this certification.

Note- some of these are affiliate links- meaning I may get a small commission at no cost to you if you buy from here. I’ve actually used all of these items.

The tools I’ll use here are:


There you have it- I’ve opened up my playbook, and now you have my strategies, tactics, and tools for getting VCP6. It’s a bit unorthodox in some ways, but I will feel very confident in both my testing and the knowledge I will have afterwards to serve me well.

I am starting the tonight! I will be sure to grab some good notes and other information for you for next week. I will also go into detail about how the class works and what to expect.

If you want to stay on top of this series, make sure you subscribe at the top of the screen and in the right sidebar so I can get you email updates. Reach out on the social channels, too! Let’s chat about it.


See the other posts in this series:



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